An online platform where schools could access free resources on the circular economy. This was carried out in collaboration with Common Seas and Kids Against Plastic, who run the Plastic Clever Schools (PCS) program.
In addition to the online resources already offered, a newsletter focused on circular economy was sent each month to registered schools.
The aim of this pilot was to offer free resources on circular economy to a large number of schools, easy to integrate in the curriculum and the school activities.
Schools in the France (Channel) England area.
Reach 250 schools and 12,000 pupils.
April to September 2022.
Who was involved in this project?
- Lead organisation: Essex County Council.
- Senior Circular Economy Officer.
- Project coordinators.
Other stakeholders involved
- Common Seas.
- Kids Against Plastic.
Where was the project piloted and why?
Online. The only way to reach such a high number of schools with no waste was to offer online resources. These are also much more engaging for children as they contain videos, animations and easy-to-use files, and can be adapted to fit the schools’ curriculum.
Why was the project created?
Why we did the project
Many schools run environmental clubs or address environmental issues in their lessons, but this seems to happen ad-hoc and especially where some teachers show an interest towards the topic. The project team wanted to provide schools with state-of-the-art knowledge on the circular economy, and the confidence to carry out whole lessons using already existing and effective resources.
Another issue that the team felt needed to be addressed was that, when assessing their own environmental performance, many schools still concentrate on recycling. BLUEPRINT wanted young people to gain a rounded knowledge on the circular economy. With this, they can make changes in their schools and their homes to prevent waste from being created, keep products in use and regenerate nature.
Expected value to the circular economy
Preparing future generations with the right skills and knowledge means that the circular economy will be at the forefront of their actions and embedded in their behaviours.
How was the project implemented?
Key actions, such as:
- background research to adapt circular economy content to an engaging newsletter for teachers and pupils of various ages
- set up working group and recurring appointments
- review information already present on the PCS website and identify gaps that could be addressed in the newsletters
- source materials
- create newsletters
- monitor engagement
Cost and staff resource
Plastic Clever Schools offered their resources free of charge. The only additional cost for this project was staff time to plan and write the monthly newsletters, which can be estimated to 3x 0.2 FTE.
An agreement among BLUEPRINT and Common Seas identified responsibilities and deadlines.
Schools had to register on the Plastic Clever Schools website to be counted towards the target. On this platform, the team could also monitor their progress in providing evidence and moving through the stages of the accreditation program.
To measure the number of pupils engaged, national average numbers for primary and secondary schools were chosen, apart from independent schools where actual numbers were used.
- reach: 113 schools in the FCE area, of which 47 in Essex
- the content has also been made available on the Kent school platform, reaching just under 600 schools.
- the target of 12,000 pupils engaged in the FCE was achieved early on in the project, as the four BLUEPRINT local authorities already accounted for 37,135 pupils.
The strengths of the pilot have been:
- online engaging resources worked well with teachers and students
- great number of schools and students reached with very little effort
- strong partnership with PCS
- any school could join and it was also very easy to set them up if they were struggling to do it themselves
The weaknesses of the pilot have been:
- the monitoring system to track schools via the PCS website was quite long-winded and required some time to identify new schools and their enrolment
As with any external provider, the partnership could have been at risk if responsibilities were not honoured or updates not provided. However, this did not happen with Common Seas and it was a pleasure to work with them.